2006-02-17 / Community

Put Hold On Increased Bank Fees: Pheffer

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer, Chair of the Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee, urged the State Banking Department to abandon its plan to allow higher bank fees, saying they are illegal and bad for consumers and small businesses.

“Under the Banking Department’s new rules, people whose accounts are overdrawn by only a few dollars could be charged hundreds of dollars in additional fees,” Assemblywoman Pheffer said. “This is wrong, and I’m calling on the Banking Department to change its plans and protect New Yorkers from exorbitant bank fees.”

The Banking Department’s proposed rules would allow banks in New York State to offer overdraft protection programs that offer minimal consumer protection. In addition, the proposal fails to warn customers if an ATM transaction will result in an overdraft charge; fails to provide a grace period before deducting daily fees; and would increase the maximum a bank can charge for a returned item from $10 to $20.

“By law – since no cost data had been made public in support of the change – the Banking Department should not be allowed to raise overdraft check fees and other bank fees,” Assemblywoman Pheffer said. “It’s unfair to penalize someone who tries to cash a check that ends up bouncing.”

The Banking Department’s plan would remove any limit on returned check charges for holders of nonconsumer accounts, such as small business checking accounts.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of New York’s economy. We should be doing everything we can to make it easier for small business owners to succeed – not creating more obstacles and expenses,” Assemblywoman Pheffer said. “I will continue to oppose the Banking Department’s proposed changes that will hurt consumers and small businesses.”

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